Approximately 6,300 meters (6.3 kilometers or 3.9 miles)
Regenerative Hull, Energy Shields (refit)
Tens of thousands
Hundreds of thousands of tons
Wraith Hive ships are the main component of the Wraith fleet and the centerpiece of their entire society. Hive ships function in a role similar to that of Ancient City-ships and Traveler generational ships.
- "My God! How big is that thing?"
- —Jennifer Keller
A Hive ship is a massive Wraith mothership capable of carrying thousands of Wraith along with their Wraith Dart fighters. Large parts of their internal structure are used to house organic cocoons in which Humans may be stored for later feeding. There are a number of corridors within the large vessel with a fine mist covering the floor. Hive ships are one of the largest ships known to exist, being roughly thirteen times larger than its main combatant, Earth's 304. (ATL: "Rising", "Allies")
Despite their size, Hive ships are capable of entering a planet’s atmosphere and landing. They are even capable of surviving for countless centuries in such conditions to the point where vegetation and the planet's environment can grow around them. This did not affect the ship as it was capable of achieving space flight and combat, suffering little, if any, adverse affects. (ATL: "Thirty-Eight Minutes")
The hulls of Hive ships are composed of living, and growing, organic matter through the use of a unique type of biotechnology capable of growing at a rapid rate. This has afforded the Wraith Hive ship a number of advantages such as hull regeneration, providing them considerable protection in battles despite the fact that they lack any true energy shielding system. The same system also regulates the internal structure of the ship. As a result a serious error in the ships systems could potentially lead to the ship attempting to reconfigure itself with chambers disappearing and others appearing suddenly. Furthermore, these organic hulls have an effect on their capacity to enter into hyperspace for extended periods of time as the Hive requires moments of rest to heal the hull damage caused by hyperspace radiation. (ATL: "The Seed", "Infection", "Allies")
As Hive ships posses no true energy shield, weapons are considerably more effective against them. This is particularly the case with Asgard plasma beam weapons, which are able to completely destroy a Hive ship in just a handful of shots. Drone weapons are also capable of inflicting mass amounts of damage, being able to destroy a Hive in a single, massive, salvo. It has been demonstrated that several well placed drones from a Puddle Jumper can cause critical damage. While Railguns are also capable of inflicting damage, their destructive power is severely limited because of the Hive's massive size. The hull of Hive ships are known to regenerate, being organic in nature. However, the length of time required for this process is unknown. (ATL: "No Man's Land", "The Last Man", "The Queen")
Hive ships can be interfaced with Zero Point Modules, although this process takes over a year to do, but makes them incredibly powerful. One Hive ship, the Super-hive was interfaced with at least one ZPM, which resulted in the ship to grow larger than average, its hull becoming far stronger and its weapons a lot more powerful, making the ship nearly invincible. It was able to take hits from Asgard plasma beam weapons while suffering minimal damage when not fully upgraded, later going up against two 304's and win and go up against Atlantis itself and posses the upper hand even with the city powered by three ZPMs. It also had a severely upgraded hyperdrive that allowed it to arrive at Earth much faster than expected. Its upgraded sensor systems were also able to detect a cloaked Puddle Jumper. It took a Nuclear warhead being detonated on the inside to destroy it. This shows that with enough power, Hive ships could likely easily defeat any foe, with their one weakness being their insufficient power generation. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")
Command and control systems
Hive ships' command structure are dominated by the ship's ruling Hive queen, though there were occasions where a male was in command. Control of the starship, however, resided on the ship's bridge where there are numerous consoles as well as view screens present. At such a location, the bridge crew is capable of commanding the ship's powerful weapons, engines and other similar systems. These controls contain a type of Neural interface that only responds to the unique telepathic signature granted by Wraith DNA. The ease of control depends on the amount of Wraith DNA present in the individual, typically it was taxing on individuals with minor quantities of Wraith DNA, whereas full Wraith have shown no fatigue. (ATL: "Be All My Sins Remember'd", "Spoils of War", "The Queen")
The second most important position within the command structure is the throne room where the queen resides. From here, important data can be conveyed to the ruler of the Hive and projected onto a mist-like screen. This allows a queen or male commander in charge to observe data that was transmitted from Wraith tracking drone during their hunts for Runners. (ATL: "Sateda")
Hive ships also have data storage chambers, which contain the ship's databanks as well as archives that contain all the information that the Hive had received. There is also a map room, which may be a vital location when the Wraith began their culling and battle operations. Along the corridors and hallways are also a number of computer consoles through which the crew are capable of accessing certain systems. From these points, a Wraith is able to patch into the communication system and allow for transmissions to be sent from the ship to a nearby planet. Access to such controls also allowed a user to hack into the main systems and disable important systems such as weapons. (ATL: "Underground", "The Gift", "Outsiders")
The ship's external sensors allow them to detect other vessels, but not when they are in hyperspace. Though typically the Wraith are unaccustomed to intruders invading their ships, an alarm system is present which activates in the form of a constant shrieking noise in the background. This system can be activated by the Hive Queen herself through the use of a special pendant. (ATL: "Rising", "The Lost Boys", "The Queen")
In addition to these, the Wraith possess a communication system which they used to transmit programs to other computers. This allows them to send encrypted computer programs showing videos. This also allows them to send computer viruses into another races' computer systems. (ATL: "Allies", "Infection")
Offensive and defensive systems
- "Transferring power from non-critical systems to hull regeneration."
Hive ships contain a powerful array of blue energy-based weapons that encompass most of the ship and fire in a bolt-like fashion. The sheer size of Hives simply allows the vessel to fire dozens of such energy blasts at a target at a constant rate, which was even capable of eventually depleting the Zero Point Module powered shields of the Lanteans. Certain bolts were somewhat larger than others and during close quarters fighting with another Hive, they were capable of causing a great deal of damage and even destroyed an opposing Hive ship, though the close nature of the engagement can mean mutual destruction, as shock wave from the first ship may destroy the victor as well. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 3", "The Hive", "The Seer")
Furthermore, a Hive's weapon fire is capable of depleting the Asgard shields of Earth's 304s in several minutes, making such vessels potent threats in open battles. They are even more serious threats when in groups because their combined firepower is capable of destroying a target relatively easily. (ATL: "The Hive")
Unlike a number of species, the ships of the Wraith do not possess shield technology and instead rely on their organic hull armour to protect them from enemy weapon fire. Power is capable of being diverted from other systems and channeled into the organic hull increasing its capacity to regenerate from the damage it had sustained. This provides a number of advantages for the Wraith, as whatever damage the ship sustains manages to heal given time. The problem with this is that it is difficult to coax the systems into bypassing damaged areas. (ATL: "Allies", "Be All My Sins Remember'd")
However, during the Legacy book series, Quicksilver who was actually Rodney McKay who had been kidnapped and converted into a Wraith developed shielding for the ships without compromising any other system, although there is a notable decrease in sublight mobility. At least one hive ship was refitted with this technology, and that one was destroyed in a joint effort of both the George Hammond and the Daedalus.
After the reinforcement of the Atlantis expedition from their home galaxy, the Wraith Hive ships developed an effective countermeasure against their transporter devices. This was the creation of a jamming field that surrounded the ship in electromagnetic static which prevented a target lock from being acquired. As long as the system is up, it is impossible to beam an object to or from within the jamming fields radius. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 3", "Search and Rescue")
- "These people were cocooned for a later feeding. Some of them may still be alive."
- —Teyla Emmagan
Being vampiric in nature, the Wraith need to capture their enemies alive in order to feed upon them, and sometimes choose to keep them alive for long periods of time for later feedings. To preserve their live prey in a hibernative state the Wraith use a form of cocoon. These are a typical sight among Wraith installations and consist of an alcove in a wall sealed with a sticky web-like substance that traps the human within the alcove. Most subjects are unconscious when inside the cocoon, though some are active enough to plead for help or attempt to escape. Subjects that are suffering from certain physiological conditions that might mean their deaths are often placed in the cocoon which sustained them for some time. (ATL: "Underground", "Allies")
Hyperdrive and propulsion systems
- "The Wraith faster-than-light travel is not as efficient as the Asgard hyperdrive aboard the Daedalus. Not only are they slower, they need to travel in a series of jumps."
- —Rodney McKay
The Hive ship contains a hyperdrive unit, allowing the vessel to enter and exit hyperspace. However, unlike the Asgard or the Ancients, these hyperdrives are not intergalactic in nature, which restricted the species to their own galaxy (max 50 lightyears/9 hours in only one jump). Furthermore, Hive ships are not able to make long journeys in hyperspace as the radiation from subspace damages to the ship's organic hull. This necessitates making brief hyperspace pauses to regenerate before returning to hyperspace (over 15 hours). Because of this, it is possible to calculate where a Hive ship will have to drop out, presenting an opportunity for ambush or attack. (ATL: "Aurora", "The Siege, Part 1", "The Siege, Part 3", "No Man's Land")
When upgraded by having a Zero Point Module powering the ship, the hyperdrive is much faster and seems to be automatically intergalactic. After receiving a message from an alternate reality, the Super-hive was able to make an immediate jump into hyperspace and head there. Being upgraded due to the ZPM made it even faster than was anticipated and the Hive ship was able to arrive weeks ahead of what they thought it would. However, it still had the weakness of needing to drop out of hyperspace for regeneration though it can go longer before needing this. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")
As is the case with most races, the hyperspace signature of the Wraith Hive ship is unique. Because of this, only hyperspace-capable Wraith ships are susceptible to the effects of the Attero device. (ATL: "First Contact", "The Lost Tribe")
Hive ships are quite capable of moving at sub-light speeds, allowing for an effective entry and exit into and out of a planet's atmosphere. However, landing a Hive can be a difficult task even in the best of conditions. One of the systems used to accomplish this is a system of at least four forward thrusters, which can be used to slow the ship's descent into the atmosphere of a planet. (ATL: "Rising", "The Shrine", "Infection")
Hive ships contain holding cells for prisoners and immediate feedings. The door to the cell is of a webbed pattern that opens upwards. Such a cell was used to hold the Athosians and Atlantis expedition members, led by Colonel Marshall Sumner, who went to Athos when a culling occurred. The cells appeared to be controlled telepathically by Wraith Commanders. (ATL: "Rising")
Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, his team, and Aiden Ford's strike team were captured and placed in a holding area on another Hive ship. They were given open view to the telepathic mechanism that the Wraith guards used to open the doors. Ronon Dex used several knives to pierce the mechanism which opened the door. (ATL: "The Hive")
The data core was a location deep inside the Hive ship which served as a central computer for the vessel. It contained a great deal of information which included the deployment of other Hives.
The Genii along with the Atlantis expedition's flagship team embarked on an infiltration mission of a sleeping Hive ship where they uncovered details on Hive ship deployments in a region of the galaxy. The chamber was secured by a door mechanism which was breached by Dr. Rodney McKay allowing Cowen to use an interface device to get the necessary data. (ATL: "Underground")
Within the massive ship resided a special chamber that served as a laboratory for the Wraith species. These rooms contained numerous data consoles and equipment allowing them to conduct experiments on various subjects which included genetics. The computers were not hooked directly into the ship systems which prevented unwilling subjects from damaging the vessel. The chamber had consoles that ringed around its circular form with a central structure that was fused from the ground to the ceiling. The door mechanism to the room was capable of being sealed to prevent prisoners from escaping.
The scientist of a Wraith commander made use of his Hive ships lab in order to study the Hoffan plague so that it would be possible to determine if a Human had the immunity or not. He became convinced at one point that he found a foolproof method which resulted in his excruciating death when he attempted to feed on one of his test subjects. Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Carson Beckett were brought to this lab to help the Wraith find the unique genetic condition for the Hive. (ATL: "Outsiders")
Deep inside the Hive ship resides a chamber which contains a central platform on which a holographic image of the galaxy is maintained and is used by the Wraith to determine their positions. Typically, three consoles are present at which three higher male ranking lieutenants are stationed.
In this control room Teyla Emmagan witnessed the holographic map on a Hive ship heading towards Atlantis through her Wraith telepathy. She was able to determine aspects of their plan and the route they were taking before the Wraith used the connection to temporarily take control of her. (ATL: "The Gift")
- "During the process of hibernation, there is a continuous exchange of fluid between Wraith and Hive."
The hibernation chambers are areas within a Hive ship where the Wraith enter into their hibernative states that can last centuries. They are located in the ceiling of the vessel and tended to by a number of caretakers that watch over the sleepers. A female Hive Keeper remains in charge and her death can unleash an activation mechanism that awakens the Wraith. Major John Sheppard killed the Wraith Keeper of a sleeping Hive which resulted in all the Wraith around the Pegasus galaxy awakening. (ATL: "Rising")
When all the Wraith of a Hive entered hibernation, a safety protocol is activated which awakens a sleeping Wraith should there be power fluctuations that jeopardize the hibernation pod. It is possible to override them but this meant that when power ran out, the Wraith would die of suffocation. These were located in the aft of the vessel with a number of auxiliary chambers which contained a couple of dozen Wraith at most.
During the hibernation process, there is a continuous exchange of fluid between the sleeping Wraith and the Hive ship potentially meaning that any disease could be transmitted to the vessel itself. (ATL: "Infection")
- It's unknown how the Wraith exit the chambers but considering their ability to stick to walls easily, they presumably exit it as normal and climb down the walls till they reach the ground.
This is a large open chamber where two Wraith warriors typically guarded the entrance and a Wraith high ranking commander was present. It appeared to have been used as an interrogation room by the Hive's ruling Queen where she brought prisoners before her and interrogated them.
Lt. Colonel John Sheppard was brought to this room when he was captured on a Hive ship as part of a mission to infiltrate and destroy it. He was saved from being fed upon by a Queen by Aiden Ford who had freed himself in order to save his former friend. (ATL: "The Lost Boys", "The Hive")
Hive Commander's Chambers
The high ranking male commanders possess a considerable amount of power within the Hive. They possess their own chambers which contain a door mechanism and at times have Wraith warriors present to guard the entrance. Inside the room there is a small enclosure which has a single large organic screen dominating its surface that streamed with data. It is here that the commander resides when he is not needed.
Dr. Carson Beckett was escorted into the commander's quarters when he demanded to see him in regards to finding a means to detecting the lethal Hoffan drug among Humans. Once there, he refused to continue his research and goaded the Wraith into feeding on him. However, Carson had been infected with the drug (most likely this immunity was installed in him when Michael Kenmore created him) which poisoned the commander and killed him. With his death, Beckett managed to procure a weapon and attempted to escape from the ship. (ATL: "Outsiders")
One important location within a Hive ship is the bridge where the high ranking Wraith commander works along with the crew at various stations. There are no seats and the Wraith must stand at their stations with their hands placed on the machines. These bridge controls make use of Wraith telepathy allowing them to command the vessel through their thoughts. Those individuals who possess Wraith DNA within their blood were capable of accessing these controls though it placed a strain on them. (ATL: "Misbegotten", "Spoils of War")
The throne room is where the Hive Queen (or any other such ruler) resides. The room is deep within the hive ship, where the Queen sits upon a large throne (that has the appearance of stone or bone). A large open area allows for people to meet with the queen, and an adjacent dining room can serve food, although those who eat there are usually fed upon soon after. There are normally warriors guarding the main entrance to the throne room. (ATL: "No Man's Land")
In front of the throne resides a projector which beams imagery for the ruler to see. These images can be projected from probes and take the form of a two-dimensional image that has mist-like qualities. (ATL: "Sateda")
- "Each [Hive ship] can carry hundreds of these things."
- —Rodney McKay
The massive size of Hive ships means they are capable of containing a large number of Wraith Dart fighters, allowing them to serve as a type of carrier vessel. Hangar doors on the outside of the ship remain open and allow swarms of Darts to be launched at any time. This is typically done during cullings or between fights against enemy ships where the sheer number of darts provide the Hive an advantage in battle.
The hangar itself is quite massive with numerous platforms where the darts are capable of landing. Railings and ladders present allow Wraith warriors or high ranking Wraith males to enter or exit the craft. When a dart returns to its Hive, an automated signal is sent, which takes control of the returning dart and guides its entry back into the vessel's cavernous hold. From there, a doorway mechanism allowed the pilots to go deeper into the Hive. (ATL: "The Lost Boys", "The Hive", "Outsiders")
In close quarter engagements, the darts were typically not launched as enemy weapon fire resulted in a high rate of death among the darts. In addition to this, an attack on the ship's hanger bays can result in secondary explosions, capable of crippling the Hive. (ATL: "Allies", "The Queen")
During the Battle of the Super-hive, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard was able to enter the Super-hive by blasting his way through the Dart Bay doors. In this case, its shown that a Hive ship possesses doors over their Dart Bays, but apparently don't posses alarms on them if something happens to them as when Sheppard blasted the doors open with a missile, no alarm went off and the Wraith never realized he was on the ship until he purposefully exposed himself. In previous experiences no doors have been displayed over the Dart Bay, but perhaps they were just open at the time or the upgraded hive ship possessed them as part of its upgrades. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")
The Wraith appear to be an entirely spaceborne society; thus, the hive ships are likely the primary abode of the Wraith race. As such, the entire gamut of positions in Wraith society can be found aboard. Each hive ship is a sovereign clan-like polity, also called a Hive, that is normally ruled by a single Queen. Hives that have lost their queen may, however, continue to function as independent polities, although being "queenless" is an uncomfortable state of existence for any male Wraith, and is associated with a stigma in Wraith society. Queenless hives thus run high risks of being annexed unto the rule of another hive's queen or of the crew "emigrating" to hives that do have a queen. In the queen's absence (temporary or permanent) senior officers usually rule (or at least attempt to), often by council. (ATL: "Legacy")
The senior-most officers on a hive ship are:
- Consort: The official, permanent mate of the Queen and automatic pretender to the fatherhood (and most often the actual father) of the Young Queen (any daughter the Queen may choose to have). While still subservient to the queen, a Consort wields considerable power and influence, and is the overall commander of the hive's blades (warriors). The position of Consort is not mandatory and young queens will often not yet have selected a Consort; if that is the case, the males whose status in the hive's society makes them eligible will often vie aggressively for the position. On queenless hives, it is most often the Consort who commands (if there is one), as the pretense (justified or not) of ruling in the Queen's name is likely the easiest to maintain from this position. If the Queen dies but is survived by the Young Queen, the Consort often functions as de facto regent (although pretense is made for it to be a mere advisorship) until the Young Queen matures enough to be able to command on her own; once that occurs, the Consort often retains his position (although, again, the actual consortship is a pretense), at least until the new Queen selects a true Consort of her own. Traditionally, only blades of high standing are eligible for Consort, although the choice belongs ultimately to the Queen and cases of young, untried blades and even clevermen (scientists) becoming Consort are not unheard of. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy", "Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Far Horizons", "Stargate Atlantis: Unascended")
- Hivemaster: The titular captain of the ship. It appears a Hivemaster serves in a position similar to flag captain, i.e. he commands the vessel in the Queen's name and per the Queen's orders. A Hivemaster will normally answer to a Consort unless the latter is countermanded by the Queen. A Hivemaster is usually a blade. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy", "Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Far Horizons")
- First-Watch Captain: A command position within the ship's military contingent (blades and drones). The First-Watch Captain likely commands the ship's troops under the Hivemaster and is presumably always a blade. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy: Inheritors")
- Master of the Darts: The commander of the hive ship's Dart wings. The position is directly subordinate to Consort (possibly with the interposition of the Hivemaster), and probably the equivalent of equal rank but parallel service tracks with regard to the First-Watch Captain. As all Dart pilots, the Master of the Darts is normally a blade. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy: Inheritors")
- Master of Sciences Physical: The chief cleverman (scientist) in the "physical sciences". The Wraith division of sciences appears different from that of the Tau'ri, and it is unknown exactly which fields fall within the Master of Sciences Physical's purview. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy", "Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Far Horizons")
- Master of Sciences Biological: The chief cleverman in the other major branch of the Wraith sciences. Equal to the Master of Sciences Physical, each of them are apparently in charge of a separate professional track in the sciences. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy", "Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis: Far Horizons")
- Chief Engineer: A cleverman who is in charge of the ship's engineering section, most likely responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ship's technology, especially propulsion. Answers most likely to the Hivemaster. The chain of command (if any) between the Chief Engineer and the Masters of Sciences is unknown; it is in fact even unknown whether the Chief Engineer would be considered a physical or a biological scientist by the Wraith, considering that their starship technology is at least partly organic. (ATL: "Stargate Atlantis: Legacy: Inheritors")
Notable hive ships
Known destroyed Hive ships since the Tau'ri-Wraith war
When the Atlantis expedition arrived in the Pegasus Galaxy, the estimated number of Hive ships in the galaxy was around 60. Since that time, however, that number has begun to rapidly diminish, and now at least 32 are known to have been destroyed, eliminating nearly half of the known Hive-ships (although more may have been built). More ships were likely destroyed while the Attero device was active and by other Wraith during the Wraith civil war, but this has yet to be confirmed. (ATL: "Underground")
Here is a list of known hive-ships that were destroyed:
- One destroyed by a Lagrangian Point satellite. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 1")—1
- One destroyed by Nuclear warhead delivered via cloaked Puddle Jumper. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 3")—2
- Three destroyed by the Daedalus beaming Nuclear warheads on board. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 3")—5
- Two destroyed by attacking each other. (ATL: "The Hive")—7
- One destroyed by the Orion. (ATL: "No Man's Land")—8
- Atlantis' hive ship destroyed by another hive-ship. (ATL: "Misbegotten")—9
- One destroyed by the Odyssey beaming a Nuclear warhead on board. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project")—10
- Two destroyed by attacking each other. (ATL: "The Seer")—12
- At least one destroyed during the Battle of Asuras. (ATL: "Be All My Sins Remember'd")—13+
- One destroyed by ramming into the Wraith cloning facility. (ATL: "Spoils of War")—14+
- One destroyed by Primary's hive ship during the Battle of the Wraith Alliance. (ATL: "The Queen")—15+
- At least twelve were destroyed during the war with the Asurans. (ATL: "Inquisition")—27+
- One destroyed after being infected with a virus caused by Dr. Jennifer Keller's gene therapy drug. (ATL: "Infection")—28+
- One Super-hive was destroyed over Earth by a Nuclear warhead detonated from the inside. (ATL: "Enemy at the Gate")—29+
- In an alternate reality at least four of Michael Kenmore's Hives were destroyed by the Phoenix, and at least two Wraith Hives were destroyed by Michael. (ATL: "The Last Man")
- In another alternate reality, a Hive ship was destroyed over Earth by Drone weapons. (ATL: "Vegas")
- One destroyed over Halcyon by means of reactor overload. (ATL: "Halcyon")—30+
- One destroyed by the Isa device shortly after attacking Heruun. (ATL: "Nightfall")—31+
- One destoyed by the Hammond and Daedalus while it was scanning Atlantis (ATL: "Allegiance")—32+
References and notes
- GateWorld's article on
|Wraith starship classes|
|Cruiser · Dart · Hive ship · Scout ship · Supply ship|
|Wraith Hive ships|
|Atlantis' hive ships · Just Fortune · Super-hive|